Paths Meant To Be Traveled

Gary Lee Miller
Gary Lee Miller Author Interview

Finding Grace follows one woman traveling by bus to see her dying grandmother but the trip becomes a life changing and inspirational journey. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

An old Chinese proverb says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That was how Finding Grace came to be. With a single step. Unfortunately, the cause of that step was the passing of my wife of 45 years, Sharee, from leukemia. Thus began a long winding road of dealing with loss and finding an outlet for my grief. I don’t believe in coincidence, and there were an extraordinary number of occurrences which could have been attributed to coincidence. I know that sometimes we have an angel (or angels) on our shoulder which lead us down paths meant to be traveled. And so began my journey. They say to write what you know, so I did. While Finding Grace is a fiction novel, there is a tremendous amount of detail based on my first-hand experience with Sharee and her illness. The characters Judith meets on her journey materialized quickly, as did the idea for the cross-country trip. Then came the two main characters of Judith and Grace. The reason for a cross-country trip was easy, based on my losing Sharee. Grace was dying from leukemia and wanted Judith to come home to visit her before it was too late.

Judith Lee is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind her character’s development?

Judith had a challenging childhood, facing poverty, bullying, and the loss of her parents at age 10. As adults we carry the baggage of the negative events of our childhood so Finding Grace explores how Judith compensated, as a child and as an adult, to survive her personal challenges. The bus trip forces her, unwillingly, to see what’s been missing from her life. As she meets the other characters on the trip, Judith begins to realize just how far she has removed herself from the real world, using her incredible wealth as a shield.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

One of the things I truly enjoyed while writing Finding Grace was using it as a vehicle to introduce a wide variety of themes that we, as a society and many individuals, face every day. While not deep dives into each, my characters each have different challenges, such as poverty, bullying, physical & mental abuse, alcohol & drug abuse, racial issues, serious disease, end-of-life caretaking, grief & loss, and others. While these are heavy subjects, the narrative of Finding Grace is mixed liberally with humor and laugh-out-loud moments that balance the journey for the reader. Plus, the bus trip gave me the opportunity to provide a travelogue of sorts, providing fun, interesting details about the places Judith sees and visits during her journey.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have written the screenplay for Finding Grace, with the goal of bringing it to the movie or TV screen. Right now I’m in the process of edits and rewrites. My hope is to get the attention of some production companies, believing an adaptation of the book would be highly entertaining and appealing to a very broad audience, demographically.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website | Instagram

The award-winning novel Finding Grace follows a young girl, Judith Lee, who grew up with her very poor grandmother, Grace, and grandfather, Virgil, in Nashville. She is bullied and mocked in school, but she is smart. She goes on full scholarship to Vanderbilt and upon graduation, moves to California, eventually starting her own tech company which becomes extraordinarily successful. As the story progresses, readers learn these facts in bits and pieces, not realizing until the very end that Judith is a highly successful woman of immense wealth.

Grace calls Judith with a dying wish…for Judith to travel from Los Angeles to Nashville to come visit her. But there’s a catch. Judith must make the journey by bus.

Each day of Judith’s journey becomes a story on its own, as the people she meets and places she visits along the way challenge her to rethink her life. Finding Grace is about Judith’s transformation back into the real world during this journey as a result of the people she meets on the bus, how she deals with the imminent passing of her grandmother, and how all this changes her life’s future plans. There are tears and laughter throughout, with interesting characters whom readers would recognize from their own lives. Today, more people are reflecting on what is and is not important. Finding Grace provides food for thought on many levels.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on December 11, 2021, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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